The Docket 1/19: Vernon Davis, Marshawn Lynch Could Hold Keys To NFC Championship


Dec 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis (85) is congratulated by teammates after catching a touchdown pass against the Seattle Seahawks in the second quarter at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

More Vernon Davis, less Marshawn Lynch. That might just be the formula for the San Francisco 49ers to turn the tide in what has been their own little house of horrors up the coast at CenturyLink Field in Seattle.

Marshawn Lynch has been an absolute nightmare for the stout 49ers defense in the four meetings over the last two seasons. He’s rushed for more than 100 yards twice, nearly broke that mark a third time and hasn’t had less than 72 yards in any of those games.

Considering that the 49ers have surrendered just four 100-yard rushers in the last two seasons, the fact that Lynch has half of that total is … concerning.

In Seattle’s 42-13 win on Dec. 23, 2012, Lynch had 111 yards on 26 carries and scored a touchdown. In the Seahawks’ 29-3 win at Seattle on Sept. 15, Lynch scored twice while registering 98 yards on 28 attempts. He had 103 yards on 19 carries in San Francisco’s 13-6 win at Candlestick Park on Oct. 18, 2012, and 72 yards on 20 attempts, with a touchdown, in the 49ers’ 19-17 victory at home on Dec. 8.

That’s 384 yards and four touchdowns in four games. And given how “Beast Mode” can get the Seattle crowd going, limiting his impact is crucial for the 49ers.

But just as crucial might be getting tight end Vernon Davis going. Davis has 93 regular-season catches in the last two seasons and another 15 in the playoffs, with 21 total touchdowns, but against the Seahawks No. 85 has been hard to find. In four games over the last two seasons, Davis has a total of six catches and 68 yards and one touchdown against Seattle.

Considering that he is one of Colin Kaepernick’s favorite targets and plays such a big role in opening up the middle of the field for the offense, getting Davis involved is huge.

The 49ers are 7-9 all-time against the Seahawks in Seattle and have lost the last two and four of the last five overall. But this is the first time the relatively new rivals—the Seahawks joined the NFC West in 2002—will meet in a postseason game.

Kickoff from Seattle is 3:30 p.m.

There’s just one other game on The Docket for Sunday:

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Oklahoma City Thunder, 4 p.m.
The Thunder won the first of four meetings with the Kings this season, posting a 97-95 win at Sleep Train Arena on Dec. 3. Sacramento is winless in nine tries at Oklahoma City since the franchise relocated from Seattle in 2008, including a 113-103 loss on Dec. 14, 2012, and a 104-95 defeat April 15 last season.

Monday Lookahead

Indiana at Warriors, 7:30 p.m.

Calgary at Sharks, 7:30 p.m.

Cal at Arizona, 2 p.m.
Stanford at Arizona State, 4 p.m.